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Youth Cup Final Match Report: Blackburn1 - Chelsea 0 (1-4 on aggregate)

Will we see him Sunday?
Will we see him Sunday?

Well this one turned out to be a slightly more tedious affair than we were expecting, as Chelsea's youth team was a bit sloppy on the evening. Adi Viveash made a pair of changes to the starting 11 from the first leg, playing Archange Nkumu in place of the international bound Nathan Ake and Ali Gordon replacing Adam Nditi. Blackburn produced a more attacking lineu than they had in the first leg, although that really didn't come as a surprise to anyone.

Both teams would struggle to get anything going early on, as the rain had soaked the pitch to the point where the ball would barely move. That probably played into the much larger Blackburn team's hands, as Chelsea tend to excel when they move the ball quickly around the pitch. Chelsea would create the first chance of the night, as John Swift released the speedy Islam Feruz but the ball was just played out by the keeper before Feruz could get to it. Close, but the game was still scoreless.

It would be all Blackburn on the attack for a bit, although they really only tested Jamal Blackman once in the next several minutes. Chelsea were sloppy with their first touch, and a heavy Blackburn press would often nick the ball back shortly after they'd lose it. Amin Affane would be injured in one of Blackburn's challenges, and Blackburn should have been playing a man down from that point forward. The referee was allowing a rough game though, so Chelsea would not get an early edge. Alex Kiwomya would come on to replace Affane.

Blackburn would quickly get themselves on the scoresheet, as Tim Payne would be the eventual beneficiary of a Nkumu slip. What's with Chelsea and bad footing this season anyway? It would be 1-0 to Blackburn, and hope was still somewhat alive.

Chelsea would start to look a bit better at this point, with Lucas Piazon playing several balls into space for Chelsea players to run on to. He seemed to be the only one with a firm grasp of what the ball was doing on the turf, but unfortunately Chelsea couldn't put the finishing touches on any of his service. Blackburn did have a great chance at adding another, as Todd Kane was forced into a last ditch clearance to keep the game at 1-0. Blackburn were certainly the better team throughout the first half, but Chelsea had their chances as well.

As the clubs came back out onto the pitch, Adi Viveash would make his second substitution. Ali Gordon would come off for Adam Nditi, a straight swap at left back. Chelsea would start the second half well, as Alex Kiwomya had a crack off a beauty of a Piazon pass. Blackburn would commit their second red card worthy tackle early in the second stanza, a scissor tackle that took down Alex Kiwomya. The speedster would be unhurt, but Blackburn really should have been down to nine at this point.

Archange Nkumu would not be so lucky, as he'd tweak his hamstring with half an hour to go. Adi Viveash would be forced into his third change, moving Chalobah into the center of the defense and bringing Ruben Loftus-Cheek into the center of the midfield. Chelsea would continue to look sloppy passing the ball, but they were generally not allowing the greatest of Blackburn chances at this point.

With 20 minutes to go, Chelsea would begin to show their talent for the first time in the match. Alex Kiwomya, Loftus-Cheek, Todd Kane, and John Swift would all go close as Lucas Piazon continued to create just about every chance Chelsea would get. Feruz would nearly be played through on goal again as the keeper again made a last ditch clearance, and Chelsea looked like they may level this leg of the competition. They wouldn't though, and Blackburn would create one final great chance before the final whistle blew.

Chelsea lifted the Youth Cup for the second time in the last three years, and with 11 of the 14 players who took part today eligible again next year you'd think this could be a repeatable feat. Well done on the night baby Blues, hopefully you carry this over into a great summer at the international level. It will be interesting to see if Lucas Piazon has turned enough heads to get another spot on the bench this Sunday, he was certainly excellent all season. Way to go Blues!

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